Argentina lending

Thou shalt lend. At subsidised rates. To small businesses. Cristina Fernández, Argentina’s president, has again recently exhorted the country’s banks to direct some five per cent of their deposits to providing corporate loans.

That will create a pool of around 17bn pesos to be lent at rates expected to be around 15 per cent – well under the annual rate of inflation, which private economists estimate at around 25 per cent (official price data have lost all credibility amid six years of suspected manipulation). Read more

Barely a couple of hundred yards separate the presidential palace of Cristina Fernández, Argentina’s leftist leader, and the office of Mauricio Macri, the centre-right mayor of Buenos Aires.

But it might as well be light years. The two rarely speak, never meet and are currently embroiled in a vicious power struggle exposed by their handling of a 10-day strike by workers on the city’s underground system, known as the “subte”, and a funding fight over the capital city’s official bank. Read more